First impressions: A nice, kind of cute little place. Very small outdoor eating space – which seemed inviting due to the gorgeous weather today. Dining room crowded, with tables VERY close together. The noise level was rather high, which we generously attributed to ‘buzz’ in the dining room. In point of fact, it looked quite a lot like any other diner in the American Midwest – certainly not upscale or fancy. Still, because the place was rated #2 in the entire area, we kept our hopes high.
About ten minutes later, the hostess came to seat the second of the two couples ahead of us. As she went to lead them into the restaurant, they suddenly asked if they could take the recently-vacated table outside instead. (Remember, we had asked the hostess if we could be seated outdoors when she took our name. This couple had not.) She glanced at us uncertainly, and then took the other couple outside, then returned to bring us to the table – a tiny two-seater jammed into the wall next to the hostess stand – that she had originally set aside for them. She did not mention the outside seating thing, or that we had clearly seen her give our table away to someone who hadn’t asked for it until it was time to seat us both.) I’m not sure if the hot-pink hair currently crowning the head of Yours Truly had anything to do with her unwillingness to seat us outside in the public view or not, but … Strike one. I gritted my teeth and followed her to the table with a smile. I was slightly disappointed, but determined to have a nice brunch.
A quick glance at the menu revealed that we would be going with ‘vegetarian’ today rather than ‘vegan’, due to their being absolutely no vegan options. Odd, for a restaurant so highly-rated and which clearly considered itself to be cutting-edge. The menu itself was extremely limited, only one page in total including the alcoholic beverages. The brevity of the menu and the alcohol available were both clear indicators that the restaurant was trying to position themselves as an upscale Parisian-style café and not the diner that appearances would suggest. Most of the items contained either eggs, meat or dairy (cheeses, cream cheese, butter, etc.) – but avocado was also an ingredient in several dishes, so I was confident I could at least avoid dairy, even if the situation necessitated a cage-free egg.
The server returned for our order. Partner ordered two Nutella crepes (the option was one or two), and I selected the Blue Door Benedict. This normally comes with ham, but since I assumed they prepare their own food fresh to order, it should have been a simple matter to omit the ham, and to put in a slice of avocado instead. (Multiple dishes containing avocado were listed on the menu.) The server looked uncomfortable when I mentioned leaving off the ham, and when I asked if I might get a bit of avocado instead, informed me that the chef did not ‘allow any substitutions’. Darlings, I’m sure I looked as if a fly had flown into my mouth, so shocked was I.
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